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3 GMAT Prep Mistakes to Avoid

January 13, 2015 by

Kaplan GMAT instructors will tell you that we hear common refrains from our students and friends. In my years of teaching, I have compiled a list of three of the most common mistakes my Kaplan students and personal friends have made while they are prepping for the exam. Test takers beware: avoid these common GMAT prep mistakes on the road to GMAT success.

Mistake #1:  Failing to make studying concrete

You’ve done this at least once. You say you’re going to study. You probably said it something like this: “I have to study for the GMAT this week.” Then suddenly, it’s Sunday night again and another week has passed and you didn’t crack a book or open your GMAT online syllabus. What happened? When planning your GMAT study, be specific. Don’t just say you need to do it, and don’t even just list Monday – ‘GMAT PREP!!!’ … Read full post

Master These GMAT Math Skills

January 5, 2015 by

Start the year off strong by diving in to your GMAT prep with vigor (or renewed vigor, as the case may be.) The math section is often the most feared, but the quantitative content on the GMAT is definable and conquerable. Brush up on the math skills that the exam tests and pair this knowledge with solid critical thinking to be successful.

Remember, the concepts presented here are the basics of what the GMAT test.  For advanced concepts and questions, the test makers have unique ways of making these more difficult.

Math Skill #1 – Arithmetic

While arithmetic is foundational in grade school (and a great deal of review for many students), you must study the fundamentals as well as the more advanced concepts.  The GMAT test your ability to:

·  Manipulate fractions, decimals, and ratios (as well as the need to convert among the three)
·  Understand the … Read full post

How Do You Study for the GMAT? Set Up a Calendar

January 2, 2015 by

It’s a new year, and many of you are working on establishing new routines and habits. Now is a perfect time to start (or re-start) a GMAT study schedule. We’ve got some advice to help get you on the right track.

Studying for the GMAT is a serious commitment, and usually takes 2-3 months or more. While most of you prepping for the GMAT know what to study, you probably have many questions about how to study. Study schedules can definitely vary depending on your particular variables, including:

We have a long history of working with students and studying how you learn, which has allowed us to develop some general rules of thumb to remember as you begin to form your personalized schedule to study for the GMAT.

Create a Detailed Study Schedule

The first thing to know about … Read full post

Will I Ever Use My GMAT Skills Again?

December 19, 2014 by

One of the questions many GMAT students ask is “why do we have to take this [insert colorful word] test anyway?” There is despair and frustration evident in the question—I want to be a management consultant, for heaven’s sake, why am I studying exponents? 

While I believed very strongly that the admissions tests were indeed relevant and always said so, I lacked the real-world business school examples to back up my claims. Until now.

GMAT Skills Are Relevant

After less than a semester of business school, knowledge of the following GMAT (and GRE) topics have already proven indispensable to my success:

1) Fractions: Oh yes, it’s third-grade math back to haunt you! Specific example? In Accounting, we study various financial ratios that determine the health of the business. For instance, the current ratio, a measure of solvency, is calculated by dividing current assets by current liabilities. A question … Read full post

Beating the GMAT: Intelligence is Insufficient

April 8, 2014 by

Undoubtedly, the GMAT can be a frustrating test to learn how to beat. Most who find themselves in battle with it end up following a red herring by questioning what the heck this test has to do with business. Entertaining this line of inquiry is a fool’s errand and takes the focus off the necessary work. Further, getting distracted by a why-do-I-have-to-what-does-this-have-to-do-with-anything mindset constructs cognitive walls that impede progress.

Rest assured: the GMAT is a valid and useful tool for assessing your business school application package. If you want more information as to the how-and-why of GMAT validity, read this and this or go here. Despite the legitimacy of the exam, I always like to offer brief comments to my students regarding the relevance of GMAT questions and tested skills to managerial acumen when the opportunity arises. The reactions I get are seldom revelatory, but I like to sow … Read full post

Spring Study Tips for the GMAT

March 20, 2014 by

Today is the Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere. This marks the beginning of spring, which is a great time for change and celebration – and for us to share some study tips for the GMAT.

Springtime Studies

When we think of the spring, we think of new beginnings. The trees and flowers are waking up (for better or worse, where allergy sufferers are concerned), the birds and frogs start singing again, and we’ve got new, longer hours of daylight now that we’ve changed the clocks. I’ve got a tray of seedlings going, and the tomatoes, basil, and okra are starting to poke their heads out of the soil, reminding me that it’s time to start new things.

Use this time of year to restart or kick-start your GMAT studies, if needed. Are you stalled out, slacking, or just plain burned out? Take a cue from the verdant vernal changes … Read full post

GMAT Critical Reasoning Practice Question & Explanation

March 6, 2014 by

You may not love doing GMAT Critical Reasoning practice, but it’s good for your score. We initially posted this stimulus and question on Facebook – give it a try:

While the average American reads only two books per year, researchers have recently concluded that by reading  two books per month, people can expect their memorizing capacity to double. The most effective way for Americans to begin to read two books per month – thus increasing their memory capacity – is to support Proposition 75, which will require students to read at least two books per month beginning in 2nd grade and through their senior year of high school. 

Which of the following can be most properly drawn, if the statements above are true, about future reading habits and memorization capacity?

  • A)  If Proposition 75 passes, all teen-agers will see a significant increase in their ability to memorize for tests.
  • Read full post

GMAT Strategy and Time Management: When to Guess

February 24, 2014 by

Guessing on the GMAT is a painful decision – especially for advanced test takers.  In the past, sometimes you were punished for guessing (like on the SATs) and sometimes you were made to feel like you weren’t fully prepared (remember college Spanish classes?). However, on the GMAT, while you want to minimize the amount of guess you do, realize that having a guessing strategy in place is important.  A guessing strategy is more important in the Quantitative sections since most test takers have a more difficult time finishing that section.  However, it is also important not to lose track of time on the Verbal section.  For sound GMAT strategy, primarily there are two distinct times when you want to guess:

When You Don’t Know the Concept

Let’s face it, on GMAT Test Day, you have a chance of forgetting one of the many equations you have memorized.  Additionally, sometimes … Read full post

GMAT Study Tip: Slow Down to Improve

February 21, 2014 by

A great GMAT study tip is what I call The Slow Down Paradox: going slower on the GMAT can make you faster.

Recently, one of my GMAT tutoring students, an engineering undergrad at Penn, hit the test prep wall.  After a couple of months of study he was consistently scoring 670/680 on weekly practice tests, but he needed to do significantly better to qualify for Wharton’s sub matriculation program.  This student was a bright guy and a typical engineer, accustomed to attacking challenges and blowing through them.   His problem was quant – all kinds of quant.  This was surprising since, in our sessions together and his homework, he demonstrated mastery of high-level content and methods. But something was falling apart under test conditions. Together, we analyzed his situation and soon saw a pattern.  Specifically, he was making preventable errors, misreading the problems and falling into traps.  Meanwhile, he was regularly … Read full post

GMAT Question of the Week: Data Sufficiency and Averages – The Explanation

February 13, 2014 by

If you haven’t already, visit our GMAT Data Sufficiency and Averages practice problem and give it a try on your own before reading the explanation.

To get this question correct, you must combine your knowledge of fundamental math concepts with use of the Kaplan Method and strategies for approaching Data Sufficiency and Averages. Here’s a breakdown:

The average formula is


The average of m and n is  


The question stem asks  “Is  ?”


Remember, with a Yes/No Data Sufficiency question, you are looking at the statements and trying to determine whether they provide a consistent YES or NO answer to this question. A consistent answer of yes OR no is sufficient. An inconsistent answer (yes and no) is insufficient.


Statement (1): Sufficient. This statement says that

Pull the 3 out of the numerator to get  

Multiply both sides by 2 to get  

Then divide both sides … Read full post


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